WPI Professor Wins ASME International Award

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

Worcester, Mass. - October 23, 2002 - ASME International (The American Society of Mechanical Engineers) has honored Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) professor Robert L. Norton with its prestigious Machine Design Award. Norton was recognized for his distinguished contributions to the field of machine design as an educator, author and engineer earlier this month at the organization's Design Engineering Technical Conference in Montreal, Canada. The award, established in 1958, recognizes eminent achievement or distinguished service in the field of machine design.

As an educator, Norton has been an inspiration for generations of WPI students since coming to the university in 1981. At WPI he is a professor of mechanical engineering, heads the mechanical engineering design group, and is director of the Gillette Project Center. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in mechanical engineering, with an emphasis on design, kinematics, vibrations and dynamics of machinery.

Norton has authored the popular engineering texts Design of Machinery: An Introduction to the Synthesis and Analysis of Mechanisms and Machines and Machine Design: An Integrated Approach; and a technical reference book, Cam Design and Manufacturing Handbook. He has also written numerous technical papers and journal articles covering kinematics, dynamics of machinery, cam design and manufacturing, computers in education and engineering education.

As a practicing engineer, Norton has excelled at his extensive industrial work in design and manufacturing. He spent 10 years at Polaroid Corporation designing cameras, related mechanisms and high-speed automated machinery; three years at Jet Spray Cooler Inc. designing food-handling machinery; and five years developing artificial-heart and noninvasive assisted-circulation devices at the Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, and Boston City Hospital. He is also an independent consultant on engineering projects ranging from disposable medical products to high-speed production machinery.

"Professor Norton has had a major impact on the teaching of mechanical design, not only in this country but also worldwide," notes Grétar Tryggvason, head of WPI's Mechanical Engineering Department. "A large fraction of mechanical engineering students graduating in the United States have used his books, and they have been translated into several foreign languages. In the very competitive textbook market, this is indeed a unique accomplishment."

Norton received an associate's degree in mechanical engineering and a bachelor's degree in industrial technology, summa cum laude, from Northeastern University in 1962 and 1967, respectively. He earned his master's degree at Tufts University in 1970. Norton is a registered professional engineer in Massachusetts, holds 13 U.S. patents, and is a fellow of ASME.

About ASME International

ASME International is a 125,000-member organization focused on technical, educational and research issues. ASME conducts one of the world's largest technical publishing operations, holds numerous technical conferences worldwide, and offers hundreds of professional development courses each year. ASME sets internationally recognized industrial and manufacturing codes and standards that enhance public welfare and safety.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865, WPI is a pioneer in technological higher education. WPI was the first university to understand that students learn best when they have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to the solution of important problems. Today its students, working in teams at more than 20 project centers around the globe, put their knowledge and skills to work as they complete professional-level work that can have an immediate positive impact on society.

WPI's innovative, globally focused curriculum has been recognized by leaders in industry, government and academia as the model for the technological education of tomorrow. Students emerge from this program as true technological humanists, well rounded, with the confidence, the interpersonal skills and the commitment to innovation they need to make a real difference in their professional and personal lives.

The university awarded its first advanced degree in 1898. Today, its first-rate research laboratories support master's and Ph.D. programs in more than 30 disciplines in engineering, science and the management of technology. Located in the heart of the region's biotechnology and high-technology sectors, WPI has built research programs-including the largest industry/university alliance in North America-that have won it worldwide recognition.